Finest Summits in the Lake District

June 6, 2022

The best summits are small lumps of rock or grass perched dramatically over steep slopes with wide ranging and spectacular views in all directions. The ones below are my own favourites, made all the better if you are the only one on it!

I have listed 15 but bear in mind, they are my own favourites! There is no pattern to the list except Yewbarrow is my favourite.

Yewbarrow

The summit of Yewbarrow is perched overlooking Wasdale with views to the Scafells. Steep slopes on three sides with a narrow grassy ridge linking it to Red Pike and the mountains of Pillar.

Overlooking Wastwater and the Screes

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Fleetwith Pike

A second mountain overlooking one of the deeper lakes of the area from a small neat summit area. In this case the Buttermere valley is laid out before you.

Buttermere from Fleetwith Pike

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Pike O’Stickle

The western ‘Pike’ of the Langdale Pikes is most spectacular. Accessed by a short scramble and excellent views over Crinkle Crags and Bowfell to the Scafells it feels as though you are stood over a gaping void. You are!

Pike O’Stickle in winter

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Black Combe

When a mountain backs against the sea then the views and experience are a little special. Scotland is best but Black Combe does an excellent impression. It would not be out of place in NW Scotland.

Summit Trig of Black Combe. Views not great!

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Catbells

Maybe an obvious choice and certainly one where you are likely to have company. However the summit of Catbells is slim and graceful and particularly good when looking north over Derwentwater, Skiddaw and Blencathra.

The graceful ridge of Catbells

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Lingmell

The summit of Lingmell is usually missed on the climb of Scafell Pike. Take the 20 minute detour. However it lies in an interesting situation with excellent views down Wasdale.

Sty Head Tarn showing well to the north.

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Haystacks

Rather than pointy and graceful, the summit of Haystacks is complex but full of interest. Lots of little rocky knolls, its own tarn and plenty of hollows to have a quiet packed lunch.

Summit tarn on Haystacks

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Harter Fell

Much of the appeal of Harter Fell is its isolation offering all round views which you cannot get from any other mountain. It is cone shaped with a neat summit between Eskdale and the Duddon Valley.

Attractive summit of Harter Fell

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Gowbarrow

A rugged little hill with some of the best views over Ullswater. The summit is set a little back from the lake but the lack of other fells makes for a relaxed and peaceful situation.

Looking to the north of Ullswater

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Catstycam

The ridge leading to the small summit area of Catstycan is one of the most graceful in the Lake Disitrict. The summit offers good views back to Helvellyn, a reward for those making the extra effort.

Summit to the left of Red Tarn

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Pike O’Blisco

Wainwright created controversy when the large summit cairn on Pike O’Blisco was destroyed many years ago. It is still large but on a small rocky plateau. Interesting views across to the Langdale Pikes.

Pike O’Blisco from Crinkle Crags

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Steeple

Barely more than a 10 minute return from the main Pillar ridge but Steeple should not be missed. A perfect neat summit (one only on top!) overlooking Ennerdale. The approach from the valley (described below) does it full justice.

Steeple overlooking Ennerdale

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Blencathra

Popping out from Halls Fell to the summit of Blencathra is dramatic enough but the completely contrasting scenery to the north and south makes the whole summit ridge remarkable and completely unique.

Towards Derwentwater

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Dow Crag

Another outlier that makes the list. This time Coiston Old Man is the inferior parent to the dramatic summit and ridge of Dow Crag, One step wrong and you will end up in Goat’s Water.

The cliffs of Dow Crag

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Lion and the Lamb

The only draw back is the difficult scramble to the highest point (which even Wainwright failed to achieve). However the small summit area is a jumble of nooks and crannies with views to die for.

Yes, that is the high point!

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Enjoy your walking

Jonathan

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